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Sereno to lead martial law anniversary rites today

MANILA, Philippines — While facing impeachment proceedings, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno is taking the lead in today’s commemoration of the 45th anniversary of martial law declaration by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

The embattled Supreme Court (SC) chief will lead the unveiling of the monument of the late freedom fighter Jose Diokno at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the agency being targeted by President Duterte and his allies in Congress.

Sereno is the guest of honor and will deliver a keynote address that would “ponder on the role of Diokno in Philippine democracy, especially in these very interesting times,” according to her legal team for the impeachment case.

She will be joined by CHR chairman Jose Luis Gascon, who is equally embattled after the House of Representatives cut his agency’s proposed budget for next year from P678 million to just P1,000.

The SC upheld Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao in a ruling last July where Sereno voted with the majority but wanted the scope of the declaration limited to certain provinces only.

Sereno took a wellness leave this week at the SC after the House committee of justice approved the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against her for sufficiency in form and substance last week.

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Lawyer Carlo Cruz, her spokesman for the impeachment case, vowed to address all allegations point-by-point in the answer they would file next week.

Sereno is accused of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust over alleged undisclosed assets in her statement of asset, liabilities and net worth and extravagant spending of judicial funds by purchasing a P5-million Toyota Land Cruiser and traveling on first-class flights among the grounds.

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